Category Archives: Toddlers

Toddler Art Exhibit

One of the lovely parts of toddlerhood is the artwork. Let me show you a few examples:

The Big Comfy Purple Couch

Sofa Art

Medium: Permanent marker

Support: Leather sofa

Techniques Used: Monochrome, Scribbling, Crosshatch

(Note the scrub marks, added later by parents. You might also notice the faded marker lines where parents had managed to fade the previous sofa painting – this is easier to see on the close up below.)

The Wall of Shame

Wall Art

Medium: Permanent marker

Support: Wall (under counter top)

Techniques Used: Monochrome, Scribbling

Disk From The Black Lagoon

Random Decoration

Medium: Permanent marker

Support: CD Container

Techniques Used: Stippling, Scribbling

Fork Attack

So we are sitting there peacefully eating dinner, and Bee decides that she doesn’t want to eat her chicken. No big surprise there. The next thing I know Zee snatches the chicken off her plate, she starts screaming like a banshee and she stabs him in the face with her fork. While everyone sat with their mouths hanging open in shock I jumped up and grabbed the hand Zee was using to cover his face and pulled it away  — I was really afraid that she had forked him in the eye — but no, there on his forehead was a nice neat little row of pindrops of blood. A fork mark. This is one girl you really don’t want to cross.

The Dreadful Silence

You know how it is when you are just trying to relax and enjoy your day off and suddenly you realize that everything is way too quiet? Well that is when you know that you are in real trouble. What could that adorable little brown eyed darling possibly do in less than five minutes? you ask. Ha! A lot you know. Five minutes is plenty of time to raise havoc.

How dost thou destroy my house? Let me count the ways:

Thou doest spread butter across the depth and breadth and height
of the table and every chair,
and into the roots and shafts of thine every little hair.
Thou doest spill orange juice on the stairs at night,
which dries and leaves a sticky sight.
Thou doest finely shred the mail,
and drop the eggs upon the floor,
and then thou doest use the broom to distribute
the mess to every corner of the room.
Thou doest drive me to the very brink, where I seem to lose
my sanity anew, — and yet, I love thee with every breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

The Truth about Motherhood

Here is an excerpt from a letter my sister sent several years ago, which I found just now as I was going through my files . . . such a gem of truth!

“See this sweet, innocent blonde haired, blue eyed, rosy cheeked two-year old boy child?  See these two innocuous looking one-gallon ziplock bags full of California brown rice in my hall closet?  Leave the room for a few minutes and the two will somehow spontaneously combine.  We will be vacuuming rice out of the hall carpet for months.

There is no use in taking a ten-minute sabbatical from Motherhood- someone will be tugging at you, saying “Momma, Momma, Momma, MOMMA!” the whole time.  When you return from your sabbatical, you will spend an hour and a half cleaning up the calamities that happened while you were gone!  Then the whole time you are cleaning up, another mess will be developing in the next room. “

Heart Stopping Moments for Parents

I think that one of the most heart stopping moments that a parent can experience is being called at work and being told that something has happened to one of their children. The second is having a child go missing. Put the two together, and well there is a recipe for some real anxiety.

As many times as you may feel angry or frustrated with your children, there is nothing like the fear of having a child go missing, especially if you have to come home from work and fight traffic before you can do a thing about it. My littlest one went missing today while I was at work and my almost-fifteen-year-old daughter was tending her. I was glad that she called me as soon as she realized that B was missing, so while I was on my way home I called all of the neighbors to see if she had stopped by for a visit. When we fist moved in to our neighborhood, B had a sly way of sneaking off as soon as my back was turned, and so we installed latches at the top of the doors, but she has recently figured out how to use the broom or other long handled tool to un-hook the latch.

My daughter was near a panic, and soon we had two neighbors out looking for her along with my two older children, but I still had the feeling that she was safe somewhere at home and they just needed to give the house another once-over, so I called Alex again and asked her to go through one more time and check every room in the house. Apparently my husband had the same feeling and so when Alex went through and still couldn’t find her, he asked her to check B’s room. When she said she wasn’t there, he told her to tell him what she saw in the room, and when she said there was a pile of blankets on the bed, he told her to move them, and sure enough, there she was, fast asleep right there in her own bed! Of course I got this news that she had been found just moments before I pulled into the driveway.

Since I have had the lovely experience of having children who like to sneak off, I have learned a few things:

  • Always check the inside of the house first — including closets, and under furniture, and especially under mounds of piled up blankets.
  • The second place to look is at neighbor’s houses, especially if your child has a little friend living next door or across the street.
  • Look for your child’s tricycle, bicycle, scooter, or anything else that they might have gone off with. If their tricycle is in front of a friend’s house, that is a really good place to check.
  • If you live two blocks or less away from a fast food restaurant with an indoor play structure, or if you have a neighbor with a trampoline, a swing set, or a play house, or if you live near a park check those places third.
  • If you spend even one minute looking in the wrong places, that is a one minute head start for your kid, so no matter where you look, it is always best if you have other people helping, even if it means getting the police involved.

More Funny Kid Quotes

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Kid Quotes

Mom to Jake, who has been babbling into a handheld mirror: Jake, who are you talking to? Are you talking to yourself?
Jake (2 years old): No! I’m talking to him! (holds the mirror up so I can see)

Jake (2 years old): Ow!
Mom: What’s wrong?
Jake: A bump got me!

Jake (2 years old): (as I am tickling his leg) No! I’m not made for tickling! I’m made for wuving! (after thinking for a minute) I’m made for kissing too.

Mom: Jake, eat your dinner.
Jake (2 years old): I can’t stuff my food in my mouth! Mom, (blink, blink) can I eat my (chocolate) bunny?

Jake (2 years old): Please give me my car . . . don’t break it—it’s beauful.

Mom: What kind of dog would you like to have?
Jake (3 years old): W’ fee’ fee’.
Mom: Fifi?
Jake (getting frustrated): No! W’fee’ fee’!
Mom (confused): Fifi?
Jake (exasperated): No! I want a dog with legs! I want a brown dog with legs and four feet!!

Jake (3 years old): Crawly cat. Crawly cat means Mr. O’Malley in Spanish.

Jake (3 years old): Monte’s name is spelled S, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 8, 9.

Zee (3 months) I want to get down! (after wiggling and squirming on mom’s lap for a few minutes)

Zee (6 months): (as I was busy cleaning in the kitchen, Zee had been crawling by my feet crying, then he finally got tired of waiting, grabbed me around the leg, looked up at me, and said: “I want mommy to feed the baby!”

Zee (2 years old): Mom, how come my ‘hi’ doesn’t work? (After yelling hi to people as we were driving down the road in the van with the windows up.)

Alex: what color is it
Zee (3 years old): Navy Peach
Alex: what does that look like?
Zee: like yellow with no eyes!

The Many Hats of a Writer

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Raising a Writer

I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago for the Utah Children’s Writers Blog:

I just got home from a ladies social where the theme for the night was vintage fashion and the girls put on a fashion show. There were vintage era dresses and hats from the late 1800’s to present day. I have never seen so many outlandish hats and froofy dresses in one room all at one time!

It made me think about all of the many hats we wear . . . just today I have been a business woman doing outreach for my agency at a charity breakfast, an office assistant, a mom cooking vegetable beef stew and checking homework, a friend, a fashion consultant for my 14 year old daughter, a napkin for my 3 year old, and now I am attempting to put on my writer’s hat, while at the same time serving as a bean bag chair for a child who will not go to bed.

With life sometimes spinning out of my control, I often feel at a loss when trying to fit in time for writing, and yet on those days that I barely have time to think, it is in the quiet moments after the kids have gone to bed (and sometimes after I have finally gotten comfortable) that the ideas start coming in like waves. It can be really irritating. Of course I never have a pen and paper handy, so while I lay there all comfy in my blankets with my pillow just so, staring at the ceiling and knowing that if I go to sleep the idea will be gone in the morning . . .

With my eclectic web of life experiences, it seems like there are always a wide variety of crazy stories bouncing around my head, from pirates on a picnic (inspired by my 5 year old) and tales from the little farm I lived on as a child to the more serious stuff of family dysfunction and teen angst, divorce, and moving to the city.

Even now as I sit here typing, Brie has pulled off one of my shoes and socks, and is asking for a glass of milk. As I get up to accommodate her, I notice that she now smells strongly of perfume and is wearing gray-blue eyeshadow on her eyebrows and lips — how long was she gone? My foot is cold and she is finally falling asleep in my lap . . .

Musings on Mothering

How many children do you have to have before you are actually qualified to give parenting advice? Even Dr. Ferber changed his stance on the ever popular Ferber method for getting kids to go to sleep after having a child of his own. Too many people who write books on parenting are giving advice from the perspective of only having a degree in child psychology, and maybe only have one kid. I go to my mother for advice—she’s the only one I know who’s really qualified since she has raised 12 kids. My younger sister is a close second. She has nine. I have four kids, and my right to give advice on parenting is very limited.

I hate it when parents of only one child (usually a mild, even tempered, obedient child who has never run away from them in the supermarket) look at a frazzled mother and say something stupid like, “I wish she would learn to control her kids!” or “don’t you think you should have used birth control?”

In order to even be able to start handing out advice, you have to have had a child who has done something horrible, like sneak out of their room after pretending to be asleep at nap time, and then quietly going into the kitchen and getting into the refrigerator so that they could get your eggs out and hide them around the house, breaking a few in the process, or like gleefully throwing cottage cheese onto the carpet because they wanted to pretend they were throwing candy in a parade, or getting out your maxi pads and sticking them all over the bathroom wall and calling them butterflies. Or my personal favorite, squirting chocolate syrup out on the white carpet, pouring milk over it, and then dancing in it. (Why did it take me so long to figure out how to lock the fridge? And why for goodness sake did I ever agree to rent a house with white carpet!)

I remember once, being infuriated with my sister because her 2-year-old little girl had pretended that my stacks of clean folded laundry were cakes and she had ‘frosted’ them with a large bottle of baby lotion that had been sitting out, and all my sister had done was take the lotion away and sternly say “no, no, sweetie!” At the time, of course, my first child was only a few months old, and had never done anything remotely obnoxious. If it had happened now, at least we would have both gotten a good chuckle over it.

And what can you really do about it? Take it away, and say “no, no!” while you try your best to look angry. There are a few areas, however, where I do feel qualified to give some advice. For example, never just nod and say “yes, uh huh, ok,” when your toddler is talking to you in words you don’t understand. For all you know, you have just given them permission to use your scissors to play barber. And if you have put your child down for a nap, make sure that he is really asleep before you go take a shower, or worse yet, fall asleep yourself, or you may find him missing when you wake up. Which brings me to the next thing—if you do fall asleep, first make sure you deadbolt the door and lock the top latch which you have smartly installed way up high at the top of the door, and then hide away, or better yet lock up anything with a long handle, like, say a broom, for instance, or you may find him being returned to you by a strange blue haired old lady who was nice enough to go door to door looking for you rather than calling the police. . . if you’re lucky.

How to Tell if You Are the Mother of a Toddler

You know you’re the mom of a toddler when nothing embarrasses you anymore. I know this is true because when my second son was 3 years old he once interviewed every stranger in the fast food restaurant we were eating at, asking everyone if they had penises, even the women. (Thank God there were only 3 other families there.) I was really starting to get annoyed at this strange fascination of his, because no matter how often I patiently explained to him that “no, I don’t have a penis, only boys have those,” he didn’t believe me, so it was actually a huge relief when he came barging into the bathroom one day and whipped open the shower curtain with a strange look of triumph on his face. He looked at me as if he just knew he had finally caught me red handed. As I frantically grabbed for the shower curtain, he shouted “Ha! Mom, you do have a . . .” a puzzled look crossed his face. “A big hairy thing?” Then he smiled and said “and you have bosoms too!” Then he closed the shower curtain and left. That was the end of it, and I am really, really, really glad.

Some other things that could tip you off that you are the parent of a toddler are:

1. When your child is missing, the closet in the entryway of your home is a perfectly logical place to look.
2. You have had to look in the middle of every clothing rack in Wal-Mart at least once.
3. You often look like your shirt sleeve has been used for a napkin. (Oh wait! It really has!)
4. White is not something you wear unless you have a babysitter.
5. It’s a relief to only have to give your child one bath in a day.
6. You lock the doors of your house with a latch that has been installed at the top of the door before taking a shower or using the toilet so your child doesn’t escape, and even then you are ready to run out of the shower naked at the slightest sound of chair legs scraping across the floor . . . (the news story of a toddler who escaped with the car keys and crashed the car into the garage while his poor mother was showering comes to mind)
7. Oh wait! Ha, what was I thinking? As soon as I get in the shower, I have instant company. And supervised toilet time . . . (“eeew mommy, you stink!” “Thanks sweetie!”)
8. Nap time is the only quiet part of your day. (Please! Pray that the toddler will take a nap!)
9. Anything nice you may have is either hidden away, or on a really high shelf that can’t be reached by climbing. (Ha! don’t you know there isn’t such a place? Must be why I don’t really have any nice things . . . )
10. If your child even eats one or two bites of his dinner, sometimes that is good enough.
11. You find yourself babbling to complete strangers at the play area in the mall, because you crave adult conversation.
12. Your house has at least one wall with crayon scribbling if you’re lucky. Otherwise, it’s permanent marker and it’s on every wall in the house. This will invariably happen right after you have painted. Thank goodness for magic erasers!
13. Your house is always a wreck, even right after you have spent the whole day cleaning up.
14. You keep baby wipes in your car and/or in your purse.
15. Milk and applesauce is a good lunch.
16. You often find yourself spelling out words such as C A N D Y, or P A R K in conversations.
17. Barney, Vegi Tales, and the Boobahs are necessary evils.
18. You have had at least one conversation as if Elmo were a real person.
19. You have either gone to the store with an odd assortment of barrettes in your hair at least once because your little girl was ‘fixing your hair’ and would have cried if you took them out, or you have pretended to be a dinosaur and that pancake syrup is blood to get your son to eat (or some other equally gory thing).

10 (not so easy) Steps for Teaching a Toddler How to Blow Her Nose

1. Hold out a tissue and say “Blow your nose, sweetie!”(the child daintily holds tissue to her nose and then sucks the boogers up into her brain with a loud glurping noise. She then blinks up at you with big innocent brown eyes and hands back the dry tissue.)

2. Say “No, don’t suck in, blow, like this.” (demonstrate for her, blowing in a loud, exaggerated fashion.)

3. Repeat steps 1& 2 randomly until you are ready to pull all of your hair out.

4. Take deep breaths and DO NOT pull out your hair. (It really hurts.)

5. Since she can barely breathe, the desperate thought of actually sucking the boogers out with your own mouth may cross your mind before you collapse in total frustration. If you actually try this step be prepared for it to work much better than you expected.

6. Scream and spit into the tissue you were holding for her as your life for the next several days, (or even months) flashes before your eyes (if she doesn’t learn to do this herself!) Blagh!!!

7. Very gently, yet firmly, hold one hand over her mouth and say “blow through your nose.” While holding a new tissue ready in the other hand.

8. She will try to blow with her mouth into your hand. Do not let her. Remind her to close her mouth before blowing. (If she doesn’t do it, or if she gets upset, move your hand for a minute to let her breathe, and then try this step again. This is one case where it is possible that screaming could work to your advantage.)

9. When she finally gets it, let her hold her own mouth closed, and let her hold the tissue. She will feel more in control this way, and less scared. (After a couple of times, if you live in an ideal world, she will figure it out and won’t need to cover her mouth anymore)

10. Proudly watch her blow gobbs of boogers out on her own and hear her say “mommy I blowed it all by mysewf!”

Start over the next day, but skip steps 1- 8 (thank goodness!) you may need to add a little reminder that she needs to blow through her nose and not her mouth, and you might need to remind her to keep her mouth closed by having her hold her hand over her mouth the first time . . . much easier!